Health

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Some of the most powerful healing substances on this planet are masquerading as foods.  Pineapples are a powerful example of this food-medicine principle.  And this is not by happenstance.  There exists an ancient mutual dependence between man and fruits.   Fruits are by design a perfect food, intended to entice us to eat them in order to help disseminate their seeds.   This process is quite profound.

Fruits entice us because they are often sweet and have attractive colors and aromas.  They also empower us to disseminate their seeds far and wide.  That is, fruiting plants have a vested interest in optimizing the health of animals that eat their fruit.  After all, a sickly animal cannot carry seed very far.  Accordingly, fruits have evolved an array of substances tailored to fight infection and disease in animals.  Let us explore this in a bit more detail.

The evolutionary meaning of vitamin C

Pineapples are one of the most concentrated sources of food vitamin C on the planet.  Unlike most animals, human beings are unable to produce vitamin C from glucose.  Most animals do not need vitamin C from their food.  But humans are wholly dependent on dietary sources.  This fact gives tremendous insight into the evolutionary history of man.

Our genetic infrastructure needs a continual resupply of vitamin C from fruits and vegetables.  Without which, disease is inevitable.

Vitamin C is the body’s primary water soluble antioxidant, defending the body against free radicals that attack and damage cells.  Free radicals are an inevitable fact of life.  Our body produces these highly reactive toxins during energy generation. We are also exposed to them from processed foods (e.g. soft drinks) and environmental chemical exposures (e.g. generator exhaust).  An excess of free radicals in the body leads to a condition known as oxidative stress.  Oxidative stress has a hand in almost all chronic disease processes that afflict man; from cancer to heart disease to arthritis and so on.

Vitamin C is also critical for immune function; it is an essential nutrient in dealing with infectious challenges ranging from malaria to yeast infections to flu.

That humans gave up the capability to produce such a profoundly health promoting substance demonstrates how intimately and inextricably linked we are to fruits like pineapple.  But please note that this is not a prescription to buy synthetic vitamin C (ascorbic acid), which lacks the essential co-factors that together form vitamin C complex.  Multivitamins and enriched processed foods (e.g. enriched white flour) are a scam of monumental proportions.

Enter bromelain, a proven cancer killer

The emergence of cancer cells is in fact a normal part of animal physiology.  Our bodies are composed of trillions of cells, of which billions are replicating at any given time.  With so much replication going on all the time, abnormalities are bound to occur.  In fact, all of us have carried numerous cancer cells at various times.  In healthy persons, these abnormal cells are rapidly destroyed by the immune system.

Fruits have also evolved an integral role in cancer prevention.  After all, they have a huge stake in the welfare of their precious seed carriers.  Pineapples really do go the extra mile for us.  In the fibrous core of pineapples, is a complex blend of enzymes collectively referred to as bromelain.  Bromelain has been found to be more potent than the chemotoxic agent 5-fluorouracil in killing cancer cells.  Imagine that, pineapples kill cancer cells more effectively than chemotherapy.  The only reason such studies remain in the dark is because they threaten the profitability of the medical establishment.

References: Roxana Báez, Miriam T Lopes, Carlos E Salas, Martha Hernández. “In vivo antitumoral activity of stem pineapple (Ananas comosus) bromelain”. Planta Medica. 2007. Web

Ezenwa Onwugbenu is a nutritional healer and public speaker on natural health matters. You can find out more about him and his passion for natural health and living on Creative Juices.

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Detoxification is the process of eliminating toxins from the body.  It is an important process as toxic exposures are an inescapable fact of life.  In just being alive, our bodies generate a steady stream of wastes and harmful substances.  For instance, life needs energy to function.  But energy generation in most life forms creates toxic byproducts.

As if that was not enough, we are exposed to several environmental toxins.  These exposures range from harmful petrochemicals in body lotions to noxious fumes from diesel trucks.

Thankfully, our bodies are more than equipped to face this toxic barrage.  We possess robust systems to identify, neutralize, and eliminate toxins.  In fact, detoxification is as fundamental to life and health as breathing.  Even as we must breath every second of every day to remain alive.  The cells in our bodies must continuously clear out toxins.

The liver is the master controller of detoxification processes.  It receives toxins dumped into circulation by cells throughout the body.  The liver neutralizes these compounds and sends them to where they will be eliminated.  There are various channels of elimination, such as skin, lungs, colon, and urinary tract.

Managing this toxic burden is important for good health.  However, our detoxification systems can be overwhelmed.  The stream of toxins from processed foods, air pollution, chronic stress, and so on can simply overrun the liver. This leads to the accumulation of toxic wastes in the body.

This is called toxicosis and leads to organ damage.   It is this organ damage and associated loss of organ function that is disease.  For example, damage to arteries leads to hypertension.  Damage to the liver leads to type 2 diabetes.  Damage to joints leads to arthritis. And so on.

Detoxification is something that the body does.  That is to say, a particular herb or tonic does not detoxify of itself.  The body simply uses the nutrients in it to achieve detoxification.  Indeed, detoxification refers to networks of protein-based machines in certain cells.  These molecular machines assemble into complex structures that search out and neutralize toxins.  An example is the cytochrome p450 family of enzymes.

However, these machines need to associate with certain nutrients to function.  They need to physically bind vitamins, minerals, and other substances to become activated.  This is where processed foods become problematic.  They are deficient in these critical raw materials.  Detoxification simply cannot proceed without magnesium, B vitamins, iron, vitamin C, and many others.

Processed foods inhibit detoxification.  The required machinery is there, but cannot be activated due to certain nutrient deficiencies.  It is a bit like owning a Ferrari and not knowing how to drive.  This represents a lost opportunity for the body to heal and repair itself.  And it allows organ damage to gradually accumulate.  This is the long march of chronic disease.

NN says: A good example of a cheap, locally available natural detoxifier is Hibiscus Calyx a.k.a Zobo. Read more about it here.

Ezenwa Onwugbenu is a nutritional healer and public speaker on natural health matters. You can find out more about him and his passion for natural health and living on Creative Juices.

Hibiscus promotes detoxification

Natural Nigerian Hibiscus Zobo

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Hibiscus calyx, which is commonly known in Nigeria as Zobo, is a rich source of nutrients that activate detoxification.  It literally contains thousands of health-promoting substances.  Of particular interest is a class of compounds called anthocyanins.  These compounds give hibiscus tea its characteristic red hue. Anthocyanins not only activate detoxification enzymes, but signal to cells to assemble more such machines.

Yes, hibiscus speaks to the body.  Nutrients are much more than just calories.  They carry information and instructions.  They initiate and inhibit numerous processes in the body.  The nutrients in Zobo initiate cleansing and regenerative processes.  Whereas the anti-nutrients in say soft drinks, initiate chronic inflammation and oxidative damage.

Hibiscus tea helps resolve metabolic syndrome 

Not surprisingly, hibiscus tea has been found to improve markers of metabolic syndrome.  What is metabolic syndrome?  It is a physiological state marked by the break down of insulin signaling.  This results in abnormally high levels of insulin that create disorder in the body.  Blood sugar and cholesterol levels spike.  Blood vessels harden and stiffen.  Chronic infections run wild as the immune system is subdued.  The liver becomes clogged with fat and cholesterol.  The brain fills up with non-functional, junk protein fibers.  And so on.

Metabolic syndrome is also a cluster of interrelated diseases.  That is, it is the root cause of a family of chronic diseases.  Many chronic diseases appear as if they have little in common.  What does type 2 diabetes have to do with heart disease?  Or kidney stones with cataracts?  Well, they have everything in common.  They are merely manifestations of an underlying disease process.  For example, hypertension, liver disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, glaucoma, dementia, and kidney disease are all impacted by defective insulin signaling (metabolic syndrome).

One way in which hibiscus helps resolve metabolic syndrome is that it promotes the excretion of uric acid.  Metabolic syndrome is associated with excess uric acid in the body.  As the body gradually detoxifies this and other metabolic wastes, the defect in insulin signaling also resolves.  And by so doing, hibiscus calyx helps to resolve the biggest killer of the modern age.

How to prepare hibiscus tea

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 Next week: We get an in-depth look at detoxification.

References: 
  1. C M Gurrola-Díaz, P M García-López, S Sánchez-Enríquez, R Troyo-Sanromán, I Andrade-González, J F Gómez-Leyva. “Effects of Hibiscus sabdariffa extract powder and preventive treatment (diet) on the lipid profiles of patients with metabolic syndrome”. Phytomedicine. 2010. Web
  2. H Mozaffari-Khosravi, B-A Jalali-Khanabadi, M Afkhami-Ardekani, F Fatehi, M Noori-Shadkam. “The effects of sour tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa) on hypertension in patients with type II diabetes”. Journal of Human Hypertension. 2009. Web

Ezenwa Onwugbenu is a nutritional healer and public speaker on natural health matters. You can find out more about him and his passion for natural health and living on Creative Juices.

Four years ago, I moved job locations and into a new job role. My new position meant spending lots of time outdoors in the hot blazing sun. Not surprisingly, I have gotten progressively darker over time.

I did not realize how bad it was until I resumed wearing make-up this year (after a 5 year hiatus) and had to get powder/foundation that matched my skin color. In the past, I only wore a sheer pressed powder but this year I wanted to get creme foundation. I’ve done a comparison below.

Before and After

I know, right? Unbelievable.

Evidence number 2 of how much my complexion has changed is my older sister.

When we were kids, I was much lighter-complexioned than she was. She caught up a little when we were growing older but right now is shades lighter than I am. And no, folks, she uses no “lightening aids” – creams or pills. She does have a sedentary job that keeps her indoors plus she is so introverted these days that she spends most of her time indoors even when she is on vacation. But c’mmon! Shades lighter? I can’t even use her foundation because I am browner than she is.

Apart from being driven by vanity, I was also alarmed for my skin health. We all know that too much sun exposure is bad and may even lead to other complications, cancer included. Obviously I had had a lot of sun exposure.

So what’s a girl to do?

Well, I have started taking my sun protection very seriously. Where possible, I wear a hat and sunglasses when I go out in the sun. My floppy hat is a bargain $8 number from Walmart which I can fold and carry wherever I go. I love that I can fold it as I typically do not enter buildings wearing my hat or sunglasses. It is nice to know that I can fold the hat away and not worry about it getting out of shape.

The sunglasses not only add to my sun protection for my skin, but for my eyes as well – they keep me from squinting under the intensely bright sunshine. Suffering from myopia since childhood, I have a fair bit of lines around my eyes – a testament to all the squinting I did when I would inevitably misplace my glasses.

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See how well shaded the top of my face is? My head is turned up towards the light which is why the lower part of my face isn’t shaded. Anyhoo, this gives a fair bit of insight into how a simple hat can provide protection.

It is surprising that we are not a hat wearing country – I cannot imagine why – given the amount of sunshine we get here – so I have gotten a lot of questions (and flack) about wearing a hat. Ranging from  “Are you on going to the Caribbean?” To plain ol’ “Why are you wearing a hat?” I expected the questions and even the derisive comments I have been getting. I had Natural hair in this country before it was cool. I know that I can manage wearing a hat even though it is not popular. Another picture of me wearing my hat and shades here.

Concerned with the state of my skin, I decide that I had to up my topical aids. So, two weeks ago I also made myself a super moisturizing facial cream that is suitable for mature skin (meadaowfoam seed oil, rose hydrosol, rose essential oil e.t.c) and added Alpha Hydroxy Acids (lactic Acid, Citric Acid e.t.c) to a batch. I use the batch with A.H.A only at night.

Although I use it at night, the AHAs increase sun sensitivity which may lead to a sun burn so it is a happy coincidence that I am using it my hat and glasses. Naturally, I also use a full spectrum UVA and UVB protection Sunscreen.

I am not expecting any miracles nor am I going to lighten my skin…naturally or otherwise. This took years to happen so I know that I am going to have to give at least twice that time for full recovery, The important thing is that I have started today.

“The time, no doubt, has come for food, seeds, herbs, plants, sunlight, air, clean water, and yes, love, to assume once again their central place in medicine, which is to say, the art and science of facilitating self-healing within the human body.”

Sayer Ji

I believe we are in the beginnings of a paradigm shift.  For far too long, natural healing has been looked at with suspicion.  It has been perceived as lacking a scientific basis and being merely the province of hippies and witch doctors. However, there is a growing body of evidence that speaks of the remarkable healing properties of certain foods.

Ginger is nothing short of a nutritive powerhouse.  And thankfully, its medicinal properties have been extensively researched.  There are literally hundreds of scholarly articles that detail its usefulness in treating conditions as varied as viral respiratory infections, colon cancer, and arthritis.  So, let us examine just two of its applications in more detail.

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A simple cure for fibroids 

Fibroids are solid growths that occur on the outside, inside, or within the wall of the womb.  These growths often appear in groups and are composed of a mix of muscle and a cartilage-like substance. They are also very common.  About 30 percent of all women get fibroids by age thirty-five and almost 80 percent of women will have fibroids by age fifty.

In most cases, they do not cause any problems at all.  However, some fibroids, depending on size and location, can cause heavy vaginal bleeding, abdominal or back pain, urinary problems, and constipation.  Also, fibroids that bulge into the womb may make it difficult to conceive or to sustain a full-term pregnancy.

The root cause of fibroids is a physiological state known as estrogen dominance.  Simply put, there is too much estrogen and estrogen-like compounds circulating in the body.  I must place a special emphasis on estrogen-like substances.  These synthetic chemicals disrupt the fine hormonal balance in the female body.   And are major drivers of fibroids, irregular menstruation, endometriosis, anovulation, breast and ovarian cancer, to name a few.  Two major sources of these toxins are canned foods and commercial milk.

Ginger helps to resolve estrogen dominance through various means.  One important way is that it optimizes liver function.  The liver manages the levels of hormones circulating in the body and mops up any excesses.  However, the liver can be overwhelmed by the high amounts of estrogen-like compounds in many processed foods.  Ginger assists the liver in detoxifying this toxic barrage.

Once you address estrogen dominance, fibroids shrink and dissolve.  A powerful tonic can be prepared from ginger and beetroot.  You grind one tablespoon of finely chopped ginger and one tablespoon of finely chopped beetroot in a blender with a cup of water.  You drink this twice a day.  In a few weeks, you will begin to see dramatic results.

A diabetic’s best friend

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is expanding rapidly on a global scale.  In some developed countries, one in ten people are diabetic.  In the United States, it is estimated that one in three people will become diabetic by 2030.  A similar, if less dramatic, trajectory is also predicted for developing countries.  In short, the future is diabetic.

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In many ways, modern life is an exercise in being continuously overwhelmed.  There are so many things that draw upon our time and resources.  And all these things must be attended to.  I often feel like I am on a treadmill that keeps turning faster.  I have to run that much harder and faster to remain in the same place.  And there is no getting off said treadmill.  To stop is to fall through the cracks.

In the midst of it all, we have to make out time to nourish and fuel our bodies.  However, how many of us can regularly set aside time to prepare wholesome meals from scratch?  This is a challenge for many people.  Life leaves us so drained physically, emotionally, and psychologically that cooking meals oftentimes is a low priority.  Instead, we rely on convenience foods like instant noodles. After all, it ticks so many of the right boxes.  It is affordable, time-saving, and tasty.  Plus, it is such as versatile meal.  You can have noodles and egg; noodles and fried plantain; noodles and sausage; noodles and bread; and on and on.  It is the proverbial Swiss Army knife of the modern diet.

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However, there is a dark side to instant noodles.  It is no hyperbole to say that instant noodles destroy health.   In this post, I would like to explore some of the ways regular consumption of instant noodles negatively affects the body.

Regular consumption of instant noodles leads to multiple nutrient deficiencies

A major problem with instant noodles is the fact that it is made from white flour.  White flour is essentially pure starch.  Many essential nutrients are lost when wheat is processed into white flour:

  • Fiber: 95% lost
  • Iron: 84% lost
  • Folate: 59% lost
  • Vitamin E: 95% lost
  • Vitamin B6: 87% lost

And the list goes on and on.  It is truly a massacre.  But what does it all mean? The loss of such high amounts of nutrients creates real problems for the body.  All processes in the body, from movement to digestion to breathing to thinking involve a long list of vitamins and minerals.  Food is supposed to provide us with a daily top up of these substances.  When our diet does not provide this the body is able to compensate for a while by drawing down on it stores.  It draws some calcium and phosphorus from the bones; some potassium and magnesium from the heart and other muscles; some vitamin A and E from the liver; some essential fatty acids from the brain; and so on.  However, this is not sustainable.  Something has to give and the result is an expanding list of nutrient deficiencies.

Instant noodles essentially strip  the body of nutrients.  There is a vicious circle.  The more you eat the more deficient you become.  These deficiencies drive multiple disease processes.  Take for example magnesium.  Magnesium is critical for the relaxation of blood vessels.  A deficiency in magnesium causes elevated blood pressure (hypertension).  Or take potassium.  Potassium is critical for stomach acid formation.  Low stomach acid leads to bacterial overgrowth in your bowels.  This causes all sorts of issues like heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, constipation, and so on.

Please note that fortification is largely a sham.  Adding synthetic nutrients to a depleted food is a far cry from whole foods.  Most of these so-called vitamins are synthesized from petrochemicals and the body rapidly excretes these toxins.

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Let’s talk about lime today. A little, cheap fruit that packs a whallop! Now squeeze a bit of the juice into water and you have a simple and affordable way to dramatically improve health.  Use 1-2 limes per glass of water.  Best thing is to drink Lime Water on a daily basis. At the very minimum drink Lime Water 3-4 times a week.

Lime and lemons are largely interchangeable.  Lemons have have slightly more fructose, but still a negligible amount when compared to other fruits.

Limes are loaded with a long list of essential vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and phytonutrients.  In many ways, limes are nature’s version of your daily multivitamin.  And Mother Nature, having countless millennia to hone and perfect her craft, packages these nutrients in a way that is readily used by the body.  In contrast, most of the so-called nutrients in synthetic multivitamins are excreted in urine.

Lime Water is an ally in slowing and even reversing the aging of skin and other organs.  It improves the appearance of skin through mechanisms that unfold deep within the body.  An old adage says “beauty is only skin-deep”.  Well, that is the farthest thing from the truth.  Beautiful, clear skin is generated from within.  That elusive glow-the Holy Grail of cosmetics-can never be achieved by slathering a product on the skin or by exfoliating layers of dead skin cells.  This is an uncomfortable truth for the cosmetics industry.

Let us explore a few ways in which regular consumption of Lime Water will shine forth your inner beauty. However before we get into it, remember that for a good thing to happen in the body it takes time.  There are no magic pills or short cuts.

The Holy Grail of Cosmetics

The appearance of skin is largely determined by the condition of the dermis, which is the deeper layer of skin.  Healthy, glowing skin is a product of two things: 1) well-maintained proteins in the dermal layer and 2) adequate blood flow through the dermal layer.  Structural proteins, such as collagen and elastin, make skin soft, smooth, and flexible.  Blood flow makes skin radiant.  Lime contains various nutrients such vitamin C, magnesium, biotin, and beta carotene that are essential for the maintenance of these proteins.  These nutrients also promote the growth of new blood vessels where needed.

Goodbye acne

Acne is a product of certain hormonal imbalances and too many bad gut bacteria.  Too much testosterone in circulation causes the skin to be oily.  Harmful gut bacteria make the skin more prone to inflammation.  Acne is the marriage of excess oil secretion and pro-inflammatory skin.  Lime water supports liver function, boosting its ability to clear excess testosterone in both males and females.  Lime water promotes the growth of friendly gut bacteria that reduce inflammation.  Please notice, facial washes, pore cleansers, and other do-dads do not help acne.

Watch belly fat melt

Stubborn belly fat that is resistant to dieting and exercise is caused by an excess of certain hormones in circulation.  These hormones are estrogen, insulin, and cortisol.  Lime water optimizes liver function, which is the organ responsible for removing excess hormones from circulation.  As the level of these hormones in circulation normalizes, excess belly fat is not only burned off but redistributed evenly around the body under the skin.

Now, this last bit may sound a bit technical, but hang in there, the knowledge you are about to acquire may change your life!

Sustainable weight loss 

Continuous weight gain that leads to overweight or obesity is not always a product of greed or laziness.  Your willpower, New Year resolutions, and such things only cause short term fluctuations in weight.  Long term weight management is not under conscious control.  It is regulated by communications between your fat stores and subconscious brain (hypothalamus).  The key hormone that relays information between both areas is leptin.  Leptin controls appetite and energy expenditure in the body over the long term.  A breakdown in leptin signaling is a necessary condition for continuous weight gain over the long term.  This is without exception. Regular consumption of lime water helps to restore the body’s sensitivity to leptin.  This reduces appetite and increases energy expenditure (i.e. resting metabolic rate).  The central role of leptin is the root cause of why weight-loss products and dieting do not work.   Only the regular consumption of nutrient dense whole foods over an extended period can resolve leptin resistance.

 

References

SK Schagen, Zampeli VA, Makrantonaki E, and Zouboulis CC. “Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging. Dermatoendocrinology. 2012: 298-307. Print
Bowe WP, Logan AC. “Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis - back to the future?” Gut Pathogens. 2011. Web
J Daubenmier, Kristeller J, Hecht FM, Maninger N, Kuwata M, Jhaveri K, Lustig RH, Kemeny M, Karan L, and Epel E. “Mindfulness Intervention for Stress Eating to Reduce Cortisol and Abdominal Fat among Overweight and Obese Women: An Exploratory Randomized Controlled Study”. Journal of Obesity. 2010. Web
MG Myers , Leibel RL, Seeley RJ, and Schwartz MW. “Obesity and leptin resistance: distinguishing cause from effect”. Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2010. Web

Ezenwa Onwugbenu is a nutritional healer and public speaker on natural health matters. You can find out more about him and his passion for natural health and living on Creative Juices

A few weeks ago, I bought some honey and used some of it. When I opened it today, there was a small “pop” sound like I had let out some gas. That points to the fact that some fermentation process was going on in the bottle. An indication that the honey may be adulterated – despite all the assurances of the vendor otherwise.

There are several brands of honey sold in supermarkets with labels screaming how Pure and Natural they are despite being the opposite. We know this for a fact but because we are left with really little choice, we go right ahead and purchase them.

Adulterated honey is a big deal, especially for people that are trying to cut out sugar from their diet. At one point, I gave up on our local honey and went the way of liquid Stevia but the need to keep it refrigerated is such a bother in Nigeria where power supply is an issue, that I moved back to “pure” honey. Looks like I am going to go back to Stevia – the powdered version – until I find an original local supply of honey.

Here is a comprehensive list of tests you can perform on your honey to find out if it real or not.

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Please let me know what brand of honey you tested and what the results are. I will post some results soon too.

Natural Nigerian Bone Broth:Stock

Bones, Celery, Rosemary, Dried Thyme, Carrots, Onions

A few posts ago, I shared my grocery haul (sound ridiculous to say grocery and haul in the same sentence, but moving on…) and promised to share a post on what I use the bones I regularly buy for.

I buy the bones from Shoprite. At N99.99 (way less than a dollar) per kilogram, they are a bargain. Not only for you but also for Shoprite. Have no illusions. These bones have been cleaned off pretty much any beef so you can’t buy these and think it is a cheap way of getting beef.

I typically use the bone broth to cook food. Most savoury meals that require water, I can reasonably substitute with bone broth – beans, jollof rice, soup, even moi-moi. When you use bone stock, you can do away with seasoning cubes and achieve even tastier food. That is enough of a WIN- WIN situation for anyone to get on the bone broth bandwagon (bbb!), but there’s even more.

Beyond tasty food, there are certain benefits that come from consuming Bone Broth. Some people swear that taking a certain amount every day will even go a long way in helping to reduce/eliminate cellulite, aiding digestion and arthritis, keeping skin supple and largely wrinkle free (this comes from the Gluthathione) .

Unfortunately, I could not find any scientific research that supported the anecdotal evidence that I found, but I shall keep looking. There is also a book: Gut and Psychology Syndrome which refers to the many benefits of bone broth, including even for mental health.

I cannot touch upon them all in great detail in one post but here is an overview:

Bones are made up of many many important substances and it is assumed that most of these will be present in some quantity in Bone Broth. We are talking about minerals such as Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Sulfur, Fluoride, Sodium, Potassium. The Cartilage is thought to contain Chrondroitin (very important for Joint health), Collagen and even Hyarulonic Acid (important for skin health) amongst many other things.

Natural Nigerian Bone Broth:Stock Ingredients

Ingredients for my “polite” Bone Broth

 I make bone broth in two ways – if I want a “polite” stock that is not as flavourful and spicy as we like it in Nigeria, I throw in celery, carrots, fresh thyme, bay leaves, black pepper and an onion. These are good for dishes that I want a subtle broth taste in. If I want to do things the Nigerian way – especially important if I am cooking our local soups, then curry, thyme, black, bay leaves, dried rosemary, Cameroun black pepper, onion, garlic, ginger e.t.c. are nestled between the bones and cooked until I have a wonderful, rich stock.

 

Bones Nigerian Stock Broth Natural

Bones with typical Nigerian seasoning…curry, thyme, onions, white pepper, cameroon pepper e.t.c.

Things to note

The goodness of bone broth are not restricted to beef bones alone. You can use the bones of goat, chicken, lamb, turkey. There is bone marrow to be found anywhere there are bones and it is this marrow that we really want in our meals. That said, common sense dictates that fish bones will not yield the same goodness.

To finish, here are some tips:

  • To extract the most from your bones, don’t boil. Bring up to the boil and then proceed to cook at a simmer. The longer your cook it for, the more nutrients you will extract.
  • Adding a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar helps in the extraction process.

References:

Shannan MD, Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food

Sekhar RV, Patel SG, Guthikonda AP, Reid M, Balasubramanyam A, Taffet GE, Jahoor F., Deficient synthesis of glutathione underlies oxidative stress in aging and can be corrected by dietary cysteine and glycine supplementation. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.2011;94(3):847-53

 

I was in Abuja recently for my very good friend’s wedding. Despite the fact that I had a limited number of days to spend there, I squeezed out time to go for a Hammam. I have only ever done this at MB Hammam in Abuja and so I can only tell you about my experience there. This time I took notes so that I could share it with y’all.

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Let’s walk through it shall we?

After telling them at the reception what treatment (I opted for the basic Hammam this time) I wanted, I was led upstairs to a changing room where I changed into a lovely Ankara robe and rubber slippers.

I was then led downstairs by one of the attendants who took me to the “bath”. Disrobed, warm water was poured all over my body and Moroccan olive soap (their own version of black soap) was rubbed all over my body. I was then wrapped up and taken to the steam room where I remained for 20 minutes. While there, the lady attending to me served me cool water with cucumber slices in them.

“This is not for the body conscious as you will be stripped to your underpants for this Hammam”

Back at the bath, warm water was again poured all over my body to rinse off the soap. This was very welcome as the change in temperature after the steam room had me shivering a bit. After this I was made to lie down and the scrubbing began. The exfoliating gloves use are the same as in this post.

My “bather” started with my right arm. I have to admit that the exfoliating process can be quite abrasive and even painful. However, seeing the amount of dirt that fell off my body spurred me on to continue with the treatment as usual ;).

Going over my entire body must have taken at least 30 minutes and by the time we were done, the bed I was laying on was covered in small brown flecks of dead skin and dirt.

I was then rinsed off, scrubbed lightly with soap and rinsed off again. The next step was to cover my body lightly with a mixture of Rhassoul Clay and Lavender. After 5 minutes, this clay mixture is rinsed off.

While my body was still wet, I was sprayed with Rose Water, closely followed by….wait for it….baby oil. I was a bit surprised at this but then I realized that I had paid for the “basic hammam” and so baby oil would be all I would get. This was definitely the downside of my Hammam. As it was my first time doing the basic, I did not realize that this would be the oil used. Natural oils were always used with my other treatments.

After the Hammam, one is led to a room with electronic massage chairs and served sweet peppermint tea and biscuits to help with re-hydration. One may also choose to get an electronic massage. I completely skipped this step this time as I was in a hurry (I had a flight to catch that day). I also do not like electronic massages. Give me human hands any day.

All in all, I was glad I got my Hammam. I will probably try a place in Lagos as I live here. I understand that BNatural Spa offers Hammams.

© 2014 Natural Nigerian. All rights reserved.

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